Thai cave divers named 'Australians of the Year' say kids should still explore the world

Adelaide anaesthetist Richard "Harry" Harris (left) and retired vet Craig Challen were made dual "Australians of the Year" on Jan 25, 2019.
Adelaide anaesthetist Richard "Harry" Harris (left) and retired vet Craig Challen were made dual "Australians of the Year" on Jan 25, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SYDNEY (DPA) - Two Australian cave divers who helped rescue 12 boys stuck deep in a Thai cave in July said on Saturday (Jan 26) kids should get cuts, bruises and broken arms as they explore the world.

Adelaide anaesthetist Richard "Harry" Harris and retired vet Craig Challen, who were made dual "Australians of the Year" on Friday evening (Jan 25) before Saturday's Australia Day, said despite the Thai soccer team getting stuck in the cave, it was important for kids to be out exploring the world.

On national ABC radio on Saturday morning, Dr Harris said he would spend his year as co-Australian of the Year urging kids to put down video games, leave TV screens, get outdoors, escape so-called "helicopter parents", and go exploring.

"It's important for kids to explore and challenge themselves, get a few grazed knees, stub a few toes, break a few arms or legs," said Dr Harris.

"Exploring and physical challenges make us more robust and confident, and we all need that as we head into life."

Dr Challen said what they did in the cave rescue was a metaphor for the importance of taking chances that life presented.

The pair were about to go on a caving holiday in central Australia in July when they got a call asking for their help in the Thai cave rescue.

 

Their medical and cave diving expertise were essential in the highly dangerous and successful rescue of all 12 boys and their coach.